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Inspiring Conversations with Rachel Clay of Clay Scoliosis Clinic

Today we’d like to introduce you to Rachel Clay.

Hi Rachel, we’d love for you to start by introducing yourself.
I run a private practice physical therapy clinic that specializes in treating scoliosis and posture issues! I would never have guessed I would end up here when I was studying dance in college, but I am so happy that I did!

I went to Missouri State University for my undergraduate degree and earned a BFA in Dance Studies. While I immensely enjoyed the challenge of performing and choreographing, I felt a desire to pursue a career that would allow me to engage with people more directly. My faith in Christ moved me to want to serve people with my hands and with my life. Because of my love of movement and knowledge about the body, I decided upon physical therapy as my profession and earned a clinical doctorate in my chosen field.

Like most fields, it turns out, the degree is just the first rung on the ladder of success when it comes to being a high-quality PT. Multiple jobs, newly married and a beautiful baby girl later, I was frustrated by my longing to give each patient I saw THE BEST, but not having enough of time or myself to absorb the depth and breadth of knowledge I needed to excel in all the areas of physical therapy I was working in. I was an orthopedic generalist and truly felt camaraderie in the statement “jack of all trades, master of none.”

Some simple math made me realize I couldn’t give 100% to 3 different roles that all shared the same time bucket. I wanted to be an amazing PT when I chose to work, but not at the expense of being an even better wife and mother. So PT had to change. Instead of having to be good at treating everything, I decided that I wanted to be THE BEST at treating one thing.

Here is where my own struggles intersected into possibilities. I was diagnosed with scoliosis as an adolescent, which is the most common age range in which it is caught. I was treated with the wait-and-see approach. I never advanced out of the mild range and didn’t think anything of it until I started having sciatica shortly after becoming a physical therapist. I was so mad that as a PT, I couldn’t fix myself. I had colleagues look at me, ortho doctors assess me and had a ton of tests done. And no one could figure out why my right leg was numb all the dang time. My spine was perfect except for mild, non-significant scoliosis.

That is when I discovered a whole specialty within physical therapy for treating scoliosis and posture called the Schroth Method! I read the book and after a miserable failure to understand it on my own I paid my own way to NYC to take the first level course to get certified, which was nine days long! It turns out if you learn how to stand properly and without all your weight on one side, leg numbness goes away pretty quick!

I loved the Schroth Method! It made sense. I was unique. It was a narrow focus. It was personal. And it was desperately needed. This was it for me. A way to serve God by loving people in a specific, skillful, and high-demand fashion. I came home from my class elated. But quickly ran into roadblocks. I was only the 7th person in the state of Missouri to receive this certification and had no colleagues to support me. I wanted to treat only Schroth and I wanted to be part-time for my family. But there was nowhere already established in which I could meet those goals. So I founded Clay Scoliosis Clinic LLC in 2018 and it has blossomed!

I love what I do and what I do is needed. It is a great honor to serve the St. Louis community in a meaningful, life-changing way while still being able to be the woman I want to be in my home. I get to be awesome a little bit at my job each week and then go enjoy the gift of now being a mommy to two beautiful girls and wife to an amazing man who is patient with my crazy business dreams. My job rocks!

Would you say it’s been a smooth road, and if not what are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced along the way?
Making my business from scratch has been really tough. I’ve since found a community with other small business Schroth PTs around the country, but it was isolated at first.

Appreciate you sharing that. What should we know about Clay Scoliosis Clinic?
I specialize in physical therapy for treating scoliosis and posture issues using a technique called the Schroth Method. I am known for being the only exclusively Schroth therapy business in St. Louis. I see individuals of all ages and stages of scoliosis. I am most proud of my clients who have avoided surgery, resolved pain reached their fitness goals, and reclaimed confidence in their bodies through my services!

Is there anyone you’d like to thank or give credit to?
I really feel like God has led me each step of the way to where I am now, using my talents, challenges, and passions to bring me to a career I love. My wonderful husband David has supported me in making big-time and money investments to get started. My Dad has been my business advisor and has blessed me immeasurably with his support and wisdom. Hagit Berdishevsky is my hero. She trained me in both my certification courses and has been huge help whenever I have questions. I am now part of a small business group with other colleagues with my specialty and they continually help me navigate problems and challenges I face as a forerunner specialist in my community.

Contact Info:

Image Credits
Sarah Katumu Sarah Jay

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